Becky Oliveros, CRCM
AVP, Risk Officer
Director, GBA Compliance School Board
Q: What was your first job, and was there a lesson you learned there that you still use today?
A: My first job was grooming dogs for a friend’s business when I was 15. The most important lesson I got from this job that I still use today is how inattention to detail can be costly and stressful. For example, one day I allowed a client to enter into an employee-only area, where the client’s dog spotted her and became overly excited and leapt from her cage, chipping her teeth as she fell. Needless to say, the business owner was out the cost of the vet bill. I was so upset when I realized I could’ve avoided this had I paid attention to the small detail of making sure the cage was locked.
Q: Tell us about your career journey. What drew you to banking, and what has kept you there?
A: My banking career began in 1996 and has now spanned more than half my lifetime. Like many bankers, I’ve seen my fair share of bank ownership changes and immense regulatory shifts along my journey. In high school, I worked afternoons as a telephone service representative at a large bank. While obtaining my finance degree, I worked evenings as a proof operator and proof corrections clerk. After graduating college, I worked as a financial institutional specialist, traveling to community banks to conduct deposit and loan compliance reviews. This job ultimately drew me into and kept me connected with bank compliance. I really enjoyed assisting management in achieving a solid compliance program through reviews and training the staff on best practices. Eventually I moved back to my hometown and became a management trainee for a bank I previously had worked with on compliance reviews. I was exposed to branch operations there and enjoyed working with clients, but I was approached by another small community bank in the same town a few years later and became their Credit Officer. At this job, I enjoyed the attention to detail that loan review and analyzing financials required. Unfortunately, the bank failed six years later, but thankfully I was hired by the acquiring bank and worked as a regulatory relations analyst, managing exams, SBA audits and ensuring compliance with the bank’s change-in-control agreements. Several years later, as loss share agreements were expiring, I moved out of risk management and into mortgage lending for a short time. In 2016, I became OneSouth Bank’s Compliance and BSA Officer, and in 2018, I earned my CRCM and was later named Risk Officer, maintaining my duties as Compliance Officer, BSA Officer and most recently Bank Security Officer. There are so many opportunities to effect change working in Risk Management. There are many ways to achieve professional growth through exposure to many different business units and operations. That is why I’ve stayed in this career.
Q: How has involvement with GBA and its compliance programs affected your career?
A: GBA has been instrumental in my professional development through its wealth of resources and diverse programs, specifically the GBA Compliance School. The school taught me the fundamentals of managing an effective compliance program through change management as well as how to interpret and apply regulations. The GBA Compliance Peer Group meetings have helped me build a network of trusted compliance professionals to share ideas and best practices. GBA keeps me up to date on constantly changing regulations through its communications and the staff is always eager to help when I seek answers.
Q: In your view, what is the value that the GBA Compliance School provides its graduates?
A: After attending two years of the GBA Compliance School, I found the greatest benefit was learning how to interpret the vast array of regulations and implementing them in an effective manner. The school taught me to become more of a critical thinker. The second year allowed me to build upon my knowledge and go deeper with learning methods on prioritizing and managing risk through risk assessments. The school empowered me to take a seat at the table, as a trusted member of management, acting in ways of a safety net, protecting profits.
Q: If you weren’t working in banking, what would you be doing instead, or what would your life be like?
A: I love my life and believe I’m where I’m meant to be, but if I had to choose another path, I believe I would be a CIA Officer or some form of intelligence analyst in counterterrorism, arms trafficking and counter-narcotics, taking down the criminals. If that didn’t pan out, I would love to own of a luxurious wellness retreat offering nutritional and fitness programs so that people could live their best lives.